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Police: Hurricane evacuees killed woman who befriended them

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Crime, Law and Justice
Texas
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(CNN) -- A Texas woman was allegedly robbed and killed by three hurricane evacuees she befriended after meeting them at her church, according to Pasadena, Texas, police.

Betty Blair, 77, was strangled to death inside her Pasadena home Friday and her bound body was discovered by her daughter Friday evening, said Pasadena Police spokesman Vance Mitchell.

Three suspects -- all described as hurricane evacuees -- were arrested Friday evening after police located the dead woman's missing car through its OnStar electronic tracking system, Mitchell said.

The three had been hired by Blair to do odds jobs around her home, including cutting her grass, Mitchell said.

"Unfortunately, it looks like her good will cost her her life," Mitchell said.

Two of the suspects are teenagers who evacuated from Beaumont, Texas, in the wake of Hurricane Rita, Mitchell said. They were identified as Jimmy Hoang Le, 18, and Stephanie Jacobo, 18.

The third suspect, 43-year-old Roosevelt Smith Jr., apparently was a Hurricane Katrina evacuee from New Orleans, Mitchell said.

They met Blair when they sought help from St. Pius V Catholic Church in Pasadena, where she volunteered in the church's food pantry.

When police realized Blair's 2000 Buick, which was missing, was equipped with OnStar, they quickly tracked it and it was stopped at a Beltway toll booth in the Dallas area, Mitchell said.

The suspects were arrested without a confrontation, he said. Jacobo's 10-month-old son, who was also in the car, has been handed over to relatives, he said.

Blair was described as a highly respected woman whose husband, a former Pasadena school board president, died several months ago.

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